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Environmental Reporting Bill Advances Despite Opposition

A bill setting up an environmental reporting regime has been sent to select committee though it was opposed by Labour and NZ First.

The first reading of the Environmental Reporting Bill was completed by 78 to 41 with National, Greens, Maori Party, ACT and United Future in favour.

Environment Minister Amy Adams said the bill would be a step change in environmental moinitoring which was currently patchy. The bill would create a regular and robust regime in line with other OECD countries, it would shift the “frustrating” debate about the quality of data to one over environmental quality.

Moana Mackey said Labour would not be supporting the bill at the first reading. Labour supported the principles of the bill and it had been “a line call” in deciding not to back it. The “fish hooks” included the role of the minister in deciding what topics were reported on.

The bill also could be read as taking information out of the public domain, Mackey said, the minister had assured Labour that was not the intent and she felt it could be sorted out in select committee.

The Greens said they would support the bill to select committee as it was a significant step. The Green MPs support beyond that was dependent on whether changes were made. The Greens shared similar concerns to Labour, but they also wanted the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment to be in charge of the report and not the Environment Secretary and Government Statistician.

NZ First also opposed the bill also because they wanted the Commissioner to run the process.

MPs began the first reading of the Energy (Fuels, Levies, and References) Amendment Bill.

Earlier the Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Bill completed its first reading by106 to 14 with the Greens opposed. It was sent to the Local Government and Environment select committee.


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